Fianna Fáil has dropped to its lowest support level in a year according to a new poll.
The Sunday Business Post/Red C poll ahead of the new Dáil term sees Micheál Martin's party drop three points to 22%.
Fine Gael is now 11 points clear of its nearest rivals on 33% - despite dropping 1% in the poll.
It comes at a difficult time for the Fianna Fáil leader as he negotiates the final budget of the confidence and supply arrangement propping up the Government.
The party has insisted it will not enter negotiations on an extension to the deal until Budget 2019 is agreed and announced.
Sunday Business Post Michael Brennan says it is not a good position for Fianna Fáil to be in.
“There is a problem for Fianna Fáil at the moment that they could become the mudguard for the Government,” he said.
“That is a very tricky position for the party because, on these sort of support levels, there is no chance really that they could cause a general election and hope to get back with very strong numbers.
“They are sort of stuck where they are at the moment.”
Sinn Féin is down two points to 14%, while Labour remains rooted on 6%.
Independents are up 4 to 13%, with the Independent Alliance on 4%.
It makes for difficult reading for Labour leader Brendan Howlin as he prepares to open his party’s two-day think-in in Drogheda this morning.
The party has held a similar position for much of his tenure as leader, and the latest results will do little to stave off councillors who have been openly calling for his resignation.
Independents are up 4 to 13 per cent, with the Independent Alliance on 4 points.
The Social Democrats, Solidarity PBP and the Green Party have 2% support each with Renua up one to 1%.
Mr Brennan said it is a very mixed reaction.
“There is a very diverse range of parties and independents there and certainly no clear winner if there was an election in the morning.”
The Dáil is due to return from its summer recess on Tuesday.